I was down here. Not at the game, but Grandmama’s, Lee Drive. I’d been to ’87 and ’88. In ’88, Mom got some tickets from one of her friends, a bigwig at CBS. Someone offered her $300 a piece. She probably would have sold them had they called back.
Point is, no way a 5th grader was going to get into ’89.
Dad and I drove down from Birmingham the night before. I journal’ed about it that day in school and later included it in a story I wrote that ended with me having powers like Star Man.
I was 10. I knew the significance: first time in Auburn. Huge, huge. It took a little to understand the significance of the significance. But you felt it.
We came 65 / 85. We rolled into downtown around 7 at night. There’s the clock tower glow, the huge hair, the jackets… it was bangin’. I sat outside on the window of the Lincoln Town Car, we were going so slow, blaring The New Kids on the Block’s “Hangin’ Tough.”
“We ain’t gonna give anybody any SLACK!” — Slack. Like Reggie Slack.
God, it was awesome…
Dad and Russ, my uncle, got the tickets. There is a picture of us I just found, right before they left: Russ, Cousins Josh (making this awesome face) and Jenny, Dad and me. I’m decked out in face paint, Braveheart-style, and one of the two Auburn hats that I would occasionally sleep and even shower in, and wearing Auburn boxer shorts outside of my sweatpants, with a paper shaker, and we’ve got some sort of giant “Beat Bama” sign on a picket — all to watch it on T.V.! The way Dad looks in that picture is the way he still looks to me, the way he will always look to me.
Dad and Russ take off. Hours go by.
It came on. It. It.
I remember being down at half time, going outside, my soul gasping, throwing the football, throwing it, throwing it, throwing it, touchdown, touchdown… it was like, my body was praying. Dye hard. Slack attack. Slack, Wright, Slack, Wright, Slack, Wasden. Believe! No doubt! Believe! I was trying to become one with the air and the trees and the grass and sound and light and put myself there, the spiritual Flubber gas for an Auburn miracle.
“… and if you try to keep us down we’re gonna come right back.”
We come back. Of course we come back. We hold on. Of course we hold on. Slack, Danley, Joseph, Wasden, Riggins, Ogletree, all of them.
There’s something like a minute left. We’re going to win. Grandaddy gets up from the recliner. I remember watching him walk down the hall.
He comes back with an arm full of toilet paper and a smile on his face, like he’s watching us at Christmas. “Let’s go.”
We hit Toomer’s. It’s a ball pit. It’s Disney World. Emotional apocalypse.
Where are Dad and Russ? War Eagle! We’ve got to find them! War Eagle! Haaaa!! Oh God… War Eagle!
No one else remembers this, but I swear… I heard, “War Eagle! Hey, War Eagle!’, and there are Dad and Russ up on a light pole, on Magnolia, right at the corner, and that’s how we found them.
God cares about football.
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ricky d says
“It’s a ball pit”. Yes!!!!
Jeremy, you just distilled the very essence of what it is to be an Auburn fan, and what it felt like that day and in 82 and in 72. Great writing and War Damn Eagle!
Let’s do it AGAIN!!!!
Once again guys at TWER – over the top writing!!! I was the same age during the ’72 game. My parents were at the game, and my (younger) sister and I stood around a radio jumping and screaming at the “it’s blocked…it is blocked!” An outcome like that on Friday would mean just as much as it did back then. WDE!!!
JDH- This year I have the unfortunate luck of havign the Iron Bowl on my birthday. Not to say that I doubt our prospects of a dubya, but I would really like to have a genuinely happy (read: War Eagle) bday.
Great article Jeremy…… I told your cousin Jennifer earlier tonight that there was NO WAY you guys were going to that game…LOL….. your Dad and I willed Auburn to victory that day!
I don’t remember that picture being taken, so thanks for the memory…..I was a good-lookin’ cuss back then wasn’t I….. oh wait…still am!!
Inspirational read Jeremy……. I remember it like yesterday. I also appreciate your generosity in describing my face as auesome; not really sure what I’m doing there. I guess the moment had just overwhelmed me. Anyway there will always be the memory. Oh yeah, Jen told me you can have next years ticket. War Eagle Cousin!! Joshua
Jeremy: Good article…….. You still owe me for all that toilet paper….
Van P in Southern IL says
John and Denise and my girlfriend and I and the rest of our big group of friends were all there in the corner of the end zone. Kristin had a sign painted on a sheet and a cop took it away. It said CBS Can Bama Survive?
John Ringer says
Great story! Van and I and our buddies camped outside the student section for hours to get good seats. It was a great and glorious day.
james m says
There were shakers left in every seat, so the stadium was awash in orange and blue. Electric? It was an atmosphere of primal ferocity, that the Tide was in town and a feeling that the Plainsmen, on this day would be victorious.